New Delhi: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday (August 17, 2022) courted a controversy after he said that Rohingya refugees will be shifted to apartments in Bakkarwala in outer Delhi and will also be provided basic amenities and police protection. Hours later, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) clarified that it had “not given any directions” to provide flats to Rohingya Muslims in Delhi and asked the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to ensure the illegal foreigners remained at their present location. The MHA also said the Rohingya illegal foreigners are to be kept in detention centres until their deportation as per the law and the Delhi government has been directed to declare the current site of their stay as a detention centre.
“India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country. In a landmark decision, all Rohingya Refugees will be shifted to EWS flats in the Bakkarwala area of Delhi. They will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs & round-the-clock Delhi Police protection,” Puri had tweeted.
Those who made a career out of spreading canards on India’s refugee policy deliberately linking it to #CAA will be disappointed.
India respects & follows @UN Refugee Convention 1951 & provides refuge to all, regardless of their race, religion or creed.@MIB_India @NBirenSingh pic.twitter.com/6jyMl9dJ7Q
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 17, 2022
The MHA, however, issued a statement and said, “With respect to news reports in certain sections of media regarding Rohingya illegal foreigners, it is clarified that the MHA has not given any directions to provide EWS flats to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in New Delhi.”
“Government of Delhi proposed to shift the Rohingyas to a new location. MHA has directed the Government of Delhi to ensure that the Rohingya illegal foreigners will continue at the present location at Kanchan Kunj, Madanpur Khadar as MHA has already taken up the matter of deportation of illegal foreigners with the concerned country through the Ministry of External Affairs,” the statement added.
“Illegal foreigners are to be kept in the Detention Centre till their deportation as per law. The Government of Delhi has not declared the present location as a Detention Centre. They have been directed to do the same immediately,” the Ministry said.
Puri, a former diplomat, then shared a copy of MHA’s statement and said that it gives the “correct position”
“Home Ministry’s press release with respect to the issue of Rohingya illegal foreigners gives out the correct position,” he tweeted.
Centre was ‘secretly’ trying to give permanent residence to Rohingyas: AAP
Meanwhile, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia rejected the Union home ministry’s claim that it was the Delhi government’s proposal and said that the BJP-led Centre was “secretly” trying to give “permanent residence” to Rohingya refugees in the national capital.
He also said that the Centre was in the morning calling the move to shift Rohingyas to EWS category flats in the city as its “achievement”, but later started shifting the blame on the Delhi government after the AAP opposed it.
Sisodia alleged that the Delhi Police and some officials had taken the decision to provide the Rohingyas permanent residence in the city on the instructions of Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and at the behest of the Union government.
“The Central government in connivance with the Delhi LG has hatched a conspiracy to permanently settle Rohingyas in Delhi,” the Delhi Deputy CM charged.
केंद्र सरकार के इशारे पर LG के कहने पर ही अफ़सरों और पुलिस ने निर्णय लिए जिन्हें, बिना मुख्यमंत्री या गृहमंत्री,दिल्ली को दिखाए LG की मंज़ूरी के लिए भेजा जा रहा था.
दिल्ली सरकार अवैध रूप से रोहँगियाओं को दिल्ली में बसाने की इस साज़िश को कामयाब नहीं होने देगी. 2/2
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) August 17, 2022
He said that the file noting this issue “clearly” shows how officers were instructed to send the file to the LG, bypassing the elected Government of Delhi.
“The Centre ordered the officers of the Delhi government, Delhi Police, FRRO and forced the Chief Secretary to chair the meeting and take the decision, while ensuring that the elected government of Delhi and its chief minister or the Dy CM in-charge of Home department remain uninformed of the meeting and the decision,” he added.
The Arvind Kejriwal dispensation will not let this “conspiracy” to illegally settle Rohingyas in Delhi succeed, Sisodia asserted.
‘GUTTER LEVEL POLITICS’: BJP attacks Arvind Kejriwal over Rohingya refugees issues
Attacking Arvind Kejriwal, BJP MP Gautam Gambhir said that today “Delhi’s shameless CM is completely exposed”.
Amid a row over the issue, the cricketer-turned-politician tweeted, “Today Delhi’s shameless CM is completely exposed. He sent a letter asking for flats in Bakkarwal for Rohingyas & is now doing what he’s known for – GUTTER LEVEL POLITICS”.
Gambhir also attached a copy of the letter with his tweet.
Today Delhi’s shameless CM is completely exposed. He sent a letter asking for flats in Bakkarwal for Rohingyas & is now doing what he’s known for – GUTTER LEVEL POLITICS pic.twitter.com/wfaKR12953
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) August 17, 2022
(With agency inputs)